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Life On Mars's Meethane Traces Thought To Be Detected

Life on Mars? Methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere which scientists say could be a sign of present-day life on Mars. It was detected by telescopes on Earth and has recently been confirmed by instruments onboard the European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express craft. Methane lives for a short time in the Martian atmosphere so it must be being constantly replenished. There are two possible ways to do this. Either active volcanoes, but none have yet been found on Mars, or microbes. The Independent has it as Methane find on Mars may be sign of life. The second group to detect signals of methane in the Martian atmosphere is led by Michael Mumma of Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, who used powerful spectroscopic telescopes based on Earth. This team is even believed to have detected variations in the concentrations of methane, with a peak coming from the ancient Martian seabed of Meridiani Planum, which is being explored by a Nasa rover. This could indicate a subterranean source of methane which is pumping out the gas, either due to some residual geological activity or because of the presence of living organisms producing it as a waste gas. Asked whether the continual production of methane is strong evidence of a biological origin of the gas, Dr Mumma said: "I think it is, myself personally." As to how...
posted by y2karl on Mar 28, 2004 - 25 comments

Not quite a flying car, but we're getting there

X-43A Flight. "The unpiloted 12-foot-long X-43A vehicle, part aircraft and part spacecraft, will be dropped from the wing of a B-52 aircraft, lofted to nearly 100,000 feet by a booster rocket and released over the Pacific Ocean to briefly fly under its own power at seven times the speed of sound." Watch (RealPlayer) it live.
posted by cedar on Mar 27, 2004 - 34 comments

Martian Sea

Old Mars and the Sea. A salty sea may once have covered the Opportunity rover's landing site on Mars, boosting the possibility that the planet may once have evolved life. (Of course, there are those who believe NASA has been conspiring to cover it all up, but the Bad Astronomer has words on that. Bunnies and faces, my foot.)
posted by brownpau on Mar 23, 2004 - 4 comments

Planet X?

An unusual solar object is the subject of a NASA news conference on Monday. The mothership? Or a 10th planet? Thanks to MemeFirst. (Related reading: Is Pluto really a planet?)
posted by Slagman on Mar 14, 2004 - 34 comments

Hubble Ultra Deep Field Images

Hubble's Deepest View Ever of the Universe Unveils Earliest Galaxies. The deepest portrait of the visible universe yet taken -- 400 million years after the Big Bang. Mirrors here and here.
posted by QuestionableSwami on Mar 9, 2004 - 9 comments

The Mars Bunny

NASA and the Mars Bunny. I first heard about it from our own kokogiak. Then the conspiracy theorists: "They're destroying the evidence!" But now NASA has come out to tell us, "It's probably just airbag material."
posted by brownpau on Mar 5, 2004 - 17 comments

Damn the man!

Save the Hubble! I know, I know, it's an internet petition... but it's to save the Hubble Telescope! That's worth a minute out of your day.
posted by Hugh2d2 on Jan 29, 2004 - 10 comments

Mars Colours

NASA is not altering Mars colours It's much less exciting than a conspiracy theory, admittedly.
posted by Mwongozi on Jan 19, 2004 - 11 comments

MAKE IT RED, DAMMIT

It looks like NASA may be altering the colors of the Mars Spirit rover photos.
posted by mrbula on Jan 18, 2004 - 36 comments

Mars Rover, Quicktime.

Next Best Thing to Being There. A Quicktime Mars Rover Simulation.
posted by kozad on Jan 17, 2004 - 8 comments

The Hubble Space Telescope is no more.

"The end of an era in deep space exploration draws to a close. The era of the total militarization of space dawns," says the blog of Bruce Garrett, a software engineer for the Space Telescope Science Institute (home of the Hubble). Although I haven't been able to corroborate it at a news source yet, Garrett reports that the word came today from NASA director Sean O'Keefe that servicing missions to Hubble are over.

The President made his announcement on Wednesday, and NASA announced their reorganization in order to fall in line with Bush's plan today. Interestingly, this "reorganization" including support to only manned missions began over a year ago, but O'Keefe still testified to the US Senate in May 2003 that the Hubble would be serviced next in November 2004. Wonder what changed.

We marveled at The Best of Hubble in December 2003. Might be the Last, as well.
posted by pineapple on Jan 16, 2004 - 19 comments

Martian Watches

24:39 NASA is running their Spirit Martian explorer program on Martian solar time. With the project day running 39 minutes longer than a real day, engineers found they faced difficulties adjusting to this virtual timezone. Their solution was nearly as old as timekeeping itself.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Jan 9, 2004 - 13 comments

Reinventing NASA

To the moon, Alice! (And then, on to Mars) Time will tell whether this declaration will lead to an actual rebirth of NASA and realignment of goals for the agency. But I for one am absolutely thrilled that Bush is planning to give NASA a long-overdue new mission and goal. Avoiding the obvious pro/con debate of doing this (or the cost), I think it's absolutely vital to the national psyche for the United States to have a long-range goal that it can focus positive energy upon. This could be the first real "Challenge to the Union" that I think should become an annual event to replace the State of the Union.
posted by tgrundke on Jan 9, 2004 - 84 comments

Stardust

Close-up images of comet Wild 2 were taken by the Stardust spacecraft on Jan. 2, and NASA released 2 of them this week. The spacecraft flew within 149 miles of the comet, 242 million miles from Earth. Stardust has been overshadowed by the Mars Exploration Rover, but I find it just as impressive, if not even more so. Now I'm looking forward to the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which will reach Saturn on July 1.
posted by homunculus on Jan 8, 2004 - 8 comments

Mars Exploration Rover Spirit lands on Mars

We landed on Mars. The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has captured its first color image of Mars. It is the highest resolution picture ever taken of another planet. Fascinating.
posted by mad on Jan 7, 2004 - 27 comments

Brace yourself for immediate disintegration

Mars, take II - Still no word from Beagle 2 (discussed here), unfortunately, as Mars maintains its tough reputation. However, the first of two rovers much larger than 1997's very successful Pathfinder is expected to hit the Martian surface with a giant bounce tonight at 8:35 p.m. PST. Check out the realistic simulation videos of how it will land and get to work, then watch Nasa TV (RealVideo) for live coverage.
posted by planetkyoto on Jan 3, 2004 - 51 comments

European Space Agency's webpage about the Mars Express / Beagle 2 project.

Mars ho! In about 24 hours, the Beagle 2 lander will descend to the surface of Mars, courtesy of the European Space Agency. After a few mighty bounces, encased in a giant rubber ball, the lander will open up and allow its instrument payload to start sampling the surface. This is the first in a trifecta of landers destined for Mars during the next month. NASA's landers, Spirit and Opportunity, land on January 3rd and January 24th.
posted by warhol on Dec 23, 2003 - 25 comments

Moose?

Robert "Moose" Cobb's new job --Under fire for its handling of postwar contracts in Iraq, the Bush administration plans to appoint NASA's inspector general to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad to oversee investigations of any alleged abuses. Cobb was Associate Presidential Counsel for Bush and before that spent nine years as a career attorney with the Office of Government Ethics. His appointment was seen as a bid by the administration to counter criticism -- mostly from Democrats in Congress -- that oversight of multibillion-dollar contracts has been lax. So can a guy who worked in the Bush White House actually be trusted to objectively investigate abuses? And if the Pentagon is auditing all of this, why use this guy? (and can the Pentagon objectively investigate this stuff either?)
posted by amberglow on Dec 15, 2003 - 16 comments

planetary photojournal

planetary photojournal
posted by crunchland on Nov 18, 2003 - 1 comment

Voyager at 90 AU

Far, far away. Today, Voyager 1 will reach 90 AU from the sun, around which distance it is expected to cross the "termination shock," finally crossing into the fuzzy boundary between the heliosphere and true interstellar space. (Yes, it's taken that long to get there.) Some even think that the termination shock has already been reached, but then re-expanded past the spacecraft. Tears need not be shed yet for these distant explorers: both Voyagers have juice till about 2020, and the mission remains very much alive. (No word, however, on a possible return to the Creator.)
posted by brownpau on Nov 5, 2003 - 25 comments

Intense Solar Flare

The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle shot off the sun earlier today. After the media latched on to what was predicted to be mostly a non-event last week (probably due to a NASA article released around the same time about a super spacestorm) , it's not making as much news this time. But you should pay attention this time. This could be the best and last chance for a lot of us farther south to see some auroras before the sun dives into solar minimum, assuming all the variables line up correctly this time. I recommend watching the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch, as it is a great all around resource for solar activity and auroras that includes live data and sightings reports by the general public. Unfortunately though, no doubt as word IS spreading, that site is being hammered again and may be quite slow.
posted by yupislyr on Oct 28, 2003 - 21 comments

Galileo Dies.

NASA's Official 'Galileo Dies' Page. Galileo is set to crash into Jupiter on Sunday. Responsible for many great images and tons of information, Galileo served well. Find a complete history of the Galileo mission here. Also, don't forget to watch the End of Mission webcast this Sunday at approx. 2 PM EST here.
posted by Ufez Jones on Sep 16, 2003 - 7 comments

Global cooking an egg on the sidewalk Warming

While there may be controversy over global warming, whichever side of the fence you stand on, you can't help but enjoy the colorful spectacle that is temperature variation from 1970-1999, presented as a MPEG from NASA (4.5 Mb). Yellow-to-red means higher temps and the last few years are a doozy. [via the Viridians]
posted by mathowie on Sep 5, 2003 - 24 comments

Oh, the humanity!

Asteroid orbits Enter the designation or name of any asteroid or comet, and a 3D orbit visualization tool will appear for that object. If Chicken Little had this link he might have calmed down a little. Or not...Find out if your favorite asteroid is about to rock your world.
posted by konolia on Sep 2, 2003 - 5 comments

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board

"These are good people"...but changes must be made. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report was released on Tuesday. Putting technical answers aside for the moment, the report targets the organizational and behavioral issues that led to a breakdown in communication, safety and responsibility. While acknowledging the good will at NASA, the report holds no illusions that changing this culture will be very difficult and very necessary in order to return to flight. What types of management/behavioral obstacles have you encountered in home, work, school or social organizations? How did you try to effect change and what obstacles did you encounter in an effort to make it more effective, safe, productive or enjoyable?
posted by tgrundke on Aug 28, 2003 - 11 comments

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_what_is.html

NASA thinks we can find another Earth in another nearby star. When we do, how can we possibly travel light-years to get there? It might not be as hard as you'd think . . .
posted by stbalbach on Aug 17, 2003 - 31 comments

Big Blue Marble

The Blue Marble... true color global imagery at 1km resolution.
posted by crunchland on Jul 19, 2003 - 14 comments

NASA catches molester, can't find holes in shuttle

NASA laboratory enhancement of the surveillance tape used to nab suspect in West Virginia Target sexual assault. It's nice to know NASA can use image enhancement technology to catch child molesters, but can't use it to find holes in space shuttles.
posted by dayvin on Jul 16, 2003 - 12 comments

Lego Astrobots Blog From Mars Rovers

Lego Astrobots Blog From Mars Rovers - The Planetary Society has teamed with NASA to "man" it's two Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft with Lego "Astrobots." The bots, Biff Starling and Sandy Moondust, are blogging their adventure "to allow kids to vicariously experience life in space, from launch, through the six-month space cruise, to landing and roving on the Martian surface."
posted by tpl1212 on Jun 13, 2003 - 4 comments

Video from Mars rocket launch

Video of Nasa's Delta II rocket launch (RealVideo) The camera was mounted on the rocket facing down towards earth and the resulting footage is amazing. There's a Windows Media version at MSNBC.
posted by stevengarrity on Jun 11, 2003 - 21 comments

If our allies don't like ... thy better learn to like it pronto!

Pentagon: space is for Americans only
At the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs in early April, (NRO director Peter) Teets proposed that U.S. resources from military, civilian and commercial satellites be combined to provide 'persistence in total situational awareness, for the benefit of this nation's war fighters.' If allies don't like the new paradigm of space dominance, said Air Force secretary James Roche, they'll just have to learn to accept it. The allies, he told the symposium, will have 'no veto power.' Suckers!
posted by magullo on May 30, 2003 - 80 comments

Space dots. Pretty.

Copernica Martin Wattenberg, in collaboration with NASA and Rhizome.org, developed a gorgeous applet to showcase NASA's commissioned art program. Participating artists include William Wegman, Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, and Robert Rauschenburg, among others. Pieces can be viewed by subject, title, or create your own gallery. Beautiful.
posted by ariana on May 28, 2003 - 9 comments

Sounds from the First Satellites

Screw Major Tom! "Oscar 1 was battery powered. Its signals lasted for about two weeks. The batteries were not rechargeable". Awww..... Here are the actual sounds of the first satellites. In fact, I may just become a MeFi musician just to sample them. So there.
posted by Carlos Quevedo on May 20, 2003 - 8 comments

Deep impact

Deep impact. NASA scientists want to know what the pristine inside of a comet looks like. What better way, then, than by blowing a 25-meter crater in one? Comet Tempel 1, to be specific. Even better, send them your name and they'll put it on a disc attached to the impactor spacecraft, which will be launched on December 30, 2004. It'll hit on the 4th of July, 2005.
posted by gottabefunky on May 13, 2003 - 9 comments

retro-future

Designing a Space Colony? Start Here. Some light Reading. Be sure to check out the artwork (more space art by Don Davis).
posted by wobh on May 3, 2003 - 4 comments

Really High Tea

I drink my tea with chopsticks. At least, I would if I lived in outer space. Cool movie (achtung: Quicktime) from the international space station showing the effects of surface tension in the absence of gravity. I wonder if any of us will ever live long enough to experience this in person?
posted by jonson on Apr 9, 2003 - 13 comments

Orbiter

Orbiter - A Free Space Flight Simulator Starving for a high realism space simulator ever since Microsoft's Space Simulator was discontinued? Look no further than Orbiter, a free realistic space simulator written and maintained by Dr. Martin Schweiger. How realistic? You might want to start off by consulting NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Basics Of Space Flight to get you grounded so to speak. This is a free, non-commercial simulator that uses accurate math and orbital physics (more or less) to try to model space flight. However hard it may appear, after orbiting Earth with the high-res (8192x4096) mod-pack installed, or sitting on the launch pad with the seamless OrbiterSound 2.1b sound environment installed, you will be well rewarded for reading the manual and participating in the dance of the heavens. (Even if all you want to do is fly around the solar system!)
posted by Tystnaden on Mar 22, 2003 - 10 comments

Massive explosion rocks NASA

Massive explosion rocks NASA And Pasadena, and a few other places, too. It's not every day you get to watch a black hole form. Includes cool animation (.mov file). Seems the gamma ray burst detector picks up two or three significant events every month or so.
posted by kewms on Mar 20, 2003 - 13 comments

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Journals, records and some images from the Apollo lunar missions.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2003 - 13 comments

Pioneer 10 finally gives it up for good.

Pioneer 10 space probe finally packs it in for good. So long, little fella...
posted by 40 Watt on Feb 25, 2003 - 27 comments

Did downsizing and inexperience lead to Columbia's destruction?

Did downsizing and inexperience lead to Columbia's destruction? In the rush to cut costs and 'downsize' NASA in the 1990s the agency outsourced most Space Transportation System (STS, or the Shuttle) functions to a private consortium called United Space Alliance. Now, senior engineers at Boeing (lead member of the USA) are beginning to talk about the lack of experience, 'brain drain', and negative effects of downsizing and privatization. This begs the issue of market imperatives, relative value of privatization and the question of how to better manage projects of this magnitude in a mixed private/public arrangement.
posted by tgrundke on Feb 23, 2003 - 3 comments

"I imagine this is the last we will hear of this."

"I imagine this is the last we will hear of this." Or not. NASA releases email between NASA engineers leading up to the Columbia disaster documenting significant concerns regarding damage done to the shuttle on takeoff. Engineers calculated the likelihood of a 7" x 30" gouge in the heat shields, but when they let management know of their concerns, they weren't taken seriously, were forced to work "at night" to do simulations, and found that requests for additional information were "treated like the plague."
posted by insomnia_lj on Feb 22, 2003 - 33 comments

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Blackbird

The Blackbird. I saw a documentary about the SR-71 Blackbird last night and I must admit I am fascinated by it. Not only is it sleek, beautiful and futuristic it's also fast as hell. Given its space-age appearance it is amazing to think that it first flew in 1964 and still nothing comes near in performance terms (that we know about!). Withdrawn from service in 1990 due to the expense of running it, it was used by Nasa for testing until recently. Nowadays your only chance of seeing one is in a museum, and if you're outside the US, the only place to go is the excellent Air Museum at RAF Duxford.
posted by jontyjago on Feb 14, 2003 - 35 comments

The oldest light in the cosmos

BAM! The Microwave Anisotropy Probe's long-awaited map of the afterglow of the big bang was released today, and all of a sudden, most of the uncertainty in the concordance model of cosmology has disappeared. We now know, to within 1%, that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. We now know that Hubble constant is 71, plus or minus 4. And though the results agreed stunningly well with the weird picture that cosmologists have about the nature of the cosmos, there was one surprise -- the first stars were born way before expected. Great day for science, and a likely future Nobel.
posted by ptermit on Feb 11, 2003 - 25 comments

Shuttle Achille's Hell ?

Shuttle "Achille's Hell" According to this article, Shuttle has one. Curiously it's in the area in which that piece of insulation hit during launch.Were the astronauts warned ? Did they do some space walk to see what was wrong ? I would stop my car to go out and see if I heard a loud "thump" coming from somewhere.
posted by elpapacito on Feb 3, 2003 - 38 comments

Challenger Nuclear Prometheus rockets

Perhaps after the Challenger tragedy Nasa will rethink Project Prometheus.
posted by thedailygrowl on Feb 3, 2003 - 23 comments

5...4...3...2...1...Goodbye, Columbia

5...4...3...2...1...Goodbye, Columbia "There is something noteworthy a rocket can do that the shuttle cannot. A rocket can be permitted to fail." Gregg Easterbrook's 1980 Washington Monthly cover story looks into the Columbia's beginnings, the hazards he saw in the shuttle, and its weaknesses compared to rockets.
Once you get into space, you check to see if any tiles are damaged. If enough are, you have a choice between Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is hope they can get a rescue shuttle up in time. Plan B is burn up coming back.
[via Slate]
posted by kirkaracha on Feb 2, 2003 - 32 comments

Houston we have a problem!

Houston we have a problem! At 9:00am EST communication was lost with space shuttle Columbia. The touch down should have been occurred at 9:16am.
posted by MzB on Feb 1, 2003 - 450 comments

Challenger Explodes

17 years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven aboard. I share this primarily as I recall this being the first where-were-you-when of my childhood. So where were you?
posted by xmutex on Jan 28, 2003 - 161 comments

Is there Life on Mars?

Is there Life on Mars? As NASA announce a nuclear-powered Mars and beyond project, British scientists are looking forward to the launch of the Beagle 2 which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet. Is this the return of the Space Race in a new form? And will they find any sign of life?
posted by anyanka on Jan 22, 2003 - 3 comments

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